Leicester 3-1 Legia Warsaw, Rangers 2-0 Sparta Prague: Europa League – as it happened!

The Guardian
The Guardian

10.40pm GMT

More reports.

Related: Alfredo Morelos sinks Sparta Prague to send Rangers into knockout stage

Related: James Maddison leads Leicester to top of group with victory over Legia Warsaw

10.03pm GMT

Get your fill of match reports.

Related: Mark Noble on the spot as West Ham beat Rapid Vienna to wrap up group

Related: Mura stun Tottenham with late Europa Conference winner after Sessegnon red

Related: Celtic out of Europa League with two late goals from Bayer Leverkusen

Updated at 10.04pm GMT

9.54pm GMT

Leicester have climbed to the top of their group , setting up a doozy of a showdown at Napoli in their final match (on December 9). They wrapped up victory over LEgia Warsaw with a storming first half, and that’ll do them a power of good, perhaps helping them to improve their Premier League form in time for Claudio Ranieri’s return to the King Power this weekend.

9.52pm GMT

It’s a glorious start to Giovani Van Bronckhorst’s reign at Rangers ! His team have got the two-goal win they needed to progress straight to the knockout stages. It’s a heck of an achievement, especially after losing their first two group games. Their final game against group leaders Lyon has become a dead rubber. That’s the third season in a row that Rangers have reached the knockout stages.

9.44pm GMT

An incredible double-save by McGregor preserves Rangers’ two-goal lead! First he pushed away a close-range header, then he flicked out a foot to kick away the follow-up!

9.42pm GMT

Rangers have to hold on for at least six more minutes - and then, if their two-goal lead is intact, they will be certain of reaching the knockout stages. But Sparta are pushing hard for at least one goal...

9.35pm GMT

“I hope I’m not tempting fate but I don’t think Leicester are going to let this slip now,” parps Simon Mulvey. Don’t worry, Simon, I don’t think anything you (or I) write has any bearing whatsoever on the outcome of this match. But your point stands: Leicester are looking more comfortable and Legia’s threat has faded.

9.30pm GMT

Ach . Flares aren’t the only problem in the stands: there’s now some aggro, with at least a couple of blows exchanged between fans and police. The cameras aren’t showing much.

9.28pm GMT

It looks like the King Power has been engulfed in a sudden fog ... but actually, it’s smoke from flares lit by Legia fans. Or maybe somebody’s recreating a Cheech and Chong movie.
Flares in the Legia Warsaw end. Photograph: Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Updated at 9.36pm GMT

9.25pm GMT

Perez, recently introduced as a sub, coaxes Barnes into running down the right. Once he gets in the box, Barnes chops back on to his left foot and unloads a powerful shot that a defender does well to block. Two minutes later Barnes is in again, this time exchanging nifty passes with Daka ... but his finish is weak.

9.18pm GMT

Leicester still aren’t totally at ease. Legia have a nagging menace, and Leicester’s vulnerability at the back is still present.

9.16pm GMT

“Watching the Rangers-Sparta Prague match I noticed Roy Makaay sitting himself down next to Giovanni van Bronckhorst in the Ibrox dugout,” cooes Peter Oh. “I thank both of them for some great memories of fantastic goals and impressive footballing moments in their playing days. What a Dutch treat!” Yes indeed. There was a time in the early 2000s when Holland could call on the top scorers from the Spanish, English, Scottish and Italian top-flights.

Updated at 9.17pm GMT

9.07pm GMT

GOAL! Rangers 2-0 Sparta (Morelos 48) What a ridiculous goal! An absolutely ludicrous blunder at the back by Sparta gifts Rangers a goal and quite possibly their passage to the knockout stages! A defender blithely clipped the ball across the face of his own goal, offering Morelos a simple header into the net from close range! Bizarre, but beautiful for Rangers!
Alfredo Morelos finds the net for his second of the night. Photograph: Scott Heppell/AP

Updated at 9.14pm GMT

8.49pm GMT

Monaco are headed towards the top of Group B, as they lead 2-1 at home to Sociedad. And in the Europa Conference League, those glorious Norwegian interlopers, Bodo-Glimt , are back above Roma and into the automatic qualification spot as they’ve taken a 1-0 half-time lead over CSKA Sofia.

8.46pm GMT

Leicester and Rangers have played well in the first halves and earned precious but precarious leads. Even two goals is not cushion enough for Leicester, as Legia have threatened occasionally and there’s still some jitters in the home defence.

8.43pm GMT

Sloppy defending by Leicester! Amartey and Soyuncu were hesitant as an attacker twirled his way past them in the box. But Soyuncu recovered well to scoop the ball clear from in front of his own goal.

8.40pm GMT

After a bout of pressure from Sparta, Rangers have regained their polish and looking quite comfortable with their lead. There’s an impressive confidence to the way they knock the ball around.

8.34pm GMT

GOAL! Leicester 3-1 Legia (Ndidi 34) Happy vibes are here again! Maddison pings in a vicious corner, the keeper gets lost under it and Ndidi rises to plant a header into the net!
Wilfred Ndidi climbs to score the third for the Foxes. Photograph: Andrew Kearns - CameraSport/CameraSport/Getty Images

Updated at 8.40pm GMT

8.33pm GMT

GOAL Leicester 2-1 Legia (Mladenovic 26) Leicester’s happy vibes take a dent as Ndidi is punished for handball in the box. Schmeichel brings cheers by saving the penalty ... but Mladenovic rams in the rebound.
Kasper Schmeichel saves the spot kick, but Legia score from the rebound. Photograph: Craig Brough/Reuters

Updated at 8.35pm GMT

8.25pm GMT

McGregor preserves Rangers lead by making a brilliant reaction save with his foot to turn away a close-range effort.

Updated at 8.28pm GMT

8.22pm GMT

Leicester 2-0 Legia (Maddison 21) Sweet for Leicester. Maddison combined with Lookman, then faked his way past one defender before curling a left-footed shot into the net from 10 yards. Leicester are playing exactly as Rodgers would have hoped.
James Maddison doubles the lead for Leicester. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Action Images/Reuters

Updated at 8.38pm GMT

8.20pm GMT

Europa Conference League favourites Roma look like they may actually make it out of their pool, as Perez has given them the lead at home to Zorya, putting them, at least temporarily, top of Group C.

8.17pm GMT

GOAL! Rangers 1-0 Sparta (Morelos 14) Gio van Bronckhorst’s European adventure is up and running! Hagi made a run from deep and was picked out nicely, then he slid the ball across to Morelos, who swept it effortlessly into the net from 18 yards.
Alfredo Morelos gives Rangers the advantage. Photograph: Russell Cheyne/Reuters

Updated at 8.24pm GMT

8.15pm GMT

GOAL! Frankfurt 1-0 Antwerp Kamada strikes as the Group D leaders go in front against the bottom team.

8.12pm GMT

GOAL! Leicester 1-0 Legia (Daka) An expert finish by the Zambian gives Leicester the perfect start! Thomas began the move by winning the ball near half way and bursting forward, then offloading to Barnes on the left. Barnes cut in-field before a lucky ricochet took the ball into the path of Daka, who knew immediately whats to do: turn, touch and slot past the keeper before he had time to set himself. Lovely.
Patson Daka fires the Foxes into an early lead. Photograph: Craig Brough/Reuters

Updated at 8.17pm GMT

8.10pm GMT

What an intriguing player Boubakary Soumaré is. Rodgers described him earlier in this season as a hybrid between Youri Tielemans and Wilfried Ndidi, saying he had traces of the power and nous of the latter and the passing range of the former. He’ll become a superstar if he develops along those lines. He’s not there yet, of course, but he has shown flashes and has started today’s game strongly.

8.06pm GMT

More blues for Leicester broke just before kickoff, when it was announced that Jonny Evans had suffered some sort of injury and had to be replaced in the starting lineup by Daniel Amartey. Leicester have been unusually ramshackle at the back at times this season - especially from setpieces - and losing Evans is unlikely to help.

8.04pm GMT

Oh dear . Tammy Abraham has just missed a sitter for Roma, getting in a muddle as he sweeps a shot wide from four yards for Roma against Zorya.

8.02pm GMT

Leicester have developed a nasty habit of starting slowly - a habit that Rodgers banished when he first took charge - so they’ll be eager to get stuck into their visitors early today. But Legia are the first to threaten, with Slisz forcing a save from Schmeichel with a decent crack from 18 yards.

8.01pm GMT

It’s a bright start by Rangers as Morelos charges down the right and lashes in a low cross that Kent nearly gets on the end of, only for the keeper to intervene sharply.

7.58pm GMT

Meanwhile in the English midlands, Leicester are attempting to leap from the bottom of Group C to the top. To do that they must beat Legia Warsaw, who are on a horrible run domestically - their worst in 85 years - but are proving quite the irritant in this tournament, as they showed when winning 1-0 against Leicester at home in September. Here are the teams:

Leicester : Schmeichel; Castagne, Soyuncu, Amartey, Thomas; Soumaré, Ndidi; Lookman, Maddison, Barnes; Daka

Legia : Miszta; Johansson, Wieteska, Jedrzejczyk;Ribiero, Martins, Slisz, Mladenovic; Muci, Medetov, Luquinhas

Updated at 8.05pm GMT

7.56pm GMT

Here are the line-ups for Rangers v Sparta Prague, which will go a long way towards determining who finishes runners-up in Group A behind Lyon.

Rangers : McGregor; Tavarnier, Goldson, Barisic, Ughelumba;Davis, Kamara; Aribo, Hagi, Kent; Morelos

Sparta : Holec; Wiesner, Panak, L Krejci, Hancko; Pavelka, Sacek; Haraslin, Hlozek, L Krejci; Minchev

7.53pm GMT

And with that, my watch is over. Here’s Paul Doyle to coax you through the remainder of the evening.

7.52pm GMT

Here’s Kári Tulinius again : “So Rennes-Vitesse finished 3-3, with Laborde going home with the match ball. This sets up a nervy last day for Spurs, as they’ll need to match or better Vitesse’s result against Mura. They face a Stade Rennais team that have already qualified as group winners, but whether that’s a good or a bad thing is hard to say.”

Yup – I wonder how Conte will play it. Does he pick his big guns and risk injury, tiredness and further embarrassment? Or does he let it go and try and get things going domestically?

7.49pm GMT

Coming up in 12 minutes' time

Group A

Lyon are currently the only side in the competition certain to top their section. In order to take second, Rangers – under new manager Giovani van Bronckhorst – must better Sparta Prague’s performance – they lost the first encounter between the teams 1-0 – and finish above Brondby, who, they currently lead by two points.

Tonight’s fixtures, 8pm (all times GMT): Brondby v Lyon, Rangers v Sparta Prague


Group B

Monaco, Sociedad and PSV, on 8, 6 and 5 points respectively, are all in contention for the top two spots. Sturm Graz are out.

Tonight’s fixtures: 8pm: PSV v Sturm Graz, Monaco v Real Sociedad


Group C

All four teams can still move on. Spartak beat Napoli last night and with both teams on 7 points, top the group on head to head.

Tonight’s fixture, 8pm: Leicester v Legia Warsaw


Group D

Frankfurt, on 10 points, are guaranteed a playoff spot and will win the group of they beat Antwerp, who are out. Olympiakos and Fenerbahce, on 6 and 5 respectively, are both still in contention.

Tonight’s fixtures, 8pm: Olympiakos v Fenerbahce, Eintracht Frankfurt v Antwerp

7.48pm GMT

Full-time scores

Group E

Lokomotiv Moscow 0-2 Lazio

Galatasaray 4-2 Marseille

Galatasaray and Lazio will finish first and second; to finish first, Lazio must beat Gala by two goals when the teams meet in Rome.


Group F

Crvena zvezda 1-0 Ludogorets

Midtjylland 3-2 Braga

Midtjylland scored a late winner! Crvena top the group with 10 points and travel to Braga, second on 9, in the final game; Midtjylland are away to Ludogorets and have 8.


Group G

Real Betis 2-0 Ferencvaros

Bayer Leverkusen 3-2 Celtic

Celtic go into the Conference League. Leverkusen win the group, Betis finish second.


Group H

Dinamo Zagreb 1-1 Genk

Rapid Wien 0-2 West Ham

West Ham win the group; Genk must win against Rapid and hope Dinamo lose to West Ham to get second.


Conference League Group G

Mura 2-1 Spurs

Spurs must match against Rennes what Vitesse do against Mura.

7.40pm GMT


Spurs have lost to Mura!, Celtic have lost to Leverkusen, West Ham have beaten Rapid.

7.40pm GMT

Spurs, though!

7.39pm GMT

What a save Radetksy! Ralston digs out a tremendous cross, someone, I don’t see who, gets a foot on it, and in slow-motion, Radetsky turns it around the post!

7.38pm GMT

GOAL! Mura 2-1 Spurs ( Marosa 90+3)

ARE YOU KIDDING ME! Going for the winner, Spurs get caught upfield, Sanchez gets done again, Marosa skipping inside him, and for extra points he deflects the resultant shot over the keeper! Spurs are so ... spurs!
Joy for Mura as Amadej Marosa seals victory. Photograph: Srdjan Zivulovic/Reuters

Updated at 7.58pm GMT

7.37pm GMT

If Celtic don’t score, they’ll go into the last 32 of the Conference League.

7.35pm GMT

Celtic have six minutes of added time to find an equaliser; three have gone.

7.35pm GMT

GOALS! Galatasaray 4-2 Marseille (Babel 83, Milik 85)

A strike apiece, neither of them of relevance; Marseille are out, and Gala will sort out first and second with Lazio in Rome.

7.33pm GMT

GOAL! Midtjylland 2-2 Braga (Galeno 85)

Assuming Braga can hold on, Midtjylland are out, and Braga and Red Star will sort out first and second between them.

7.31pm GMT

If they can’t equalise, Celtic are out, but as I was in the middle of typing before the goal, their fans know that every time they go to see Postecoglou’s team play, they’ll see a team trying to do something good. They’re on the up.

7.30pm GMT

GREAT GOAL! Bayer Leverkusen 3-2 Celtic (Diaby 87)

Celtic lose it in midfield and move into the box far too easily, a dink to the edge met on the volley by Diaby, who spanks past Hart. Sickener for Celtic!
Moussa Diaby unleashes a volley that puts Leverkusen into the lead. Photograph: Martin Meissner/AP

Updated at 7.36pm GMT

7.29pm GMT

Leverkusen - Celtic has been a really good game. Both teams have gone for it and....

7.27pm GMT

Ah, a goal I missed: Milik pulled one back for Marseille, who now trail Galatasaray 3-1.

Updated at 7.31pm GMT

7.26pm GMT

GOAL! Bayer Leverkusen 2-2 Celtic (Andrich 82)

Ralston’s panicked clearance goes out to the Leverkusen right and the cross is a good one, tapped down at the back post by Adli, I think, for Andrich to drill through Hart’s legs. A point is ok for Celtic, but they’ll have to hang on...
Lukas Hradecky levels for the German side. Photograph: Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters

Updated at 7.30pm GMT

7.23pm GMT

Aaaaaaarrrrgggggghhhh! Perkins almost scores with his first touch! Coufal powers down the right and hammers over a blinding cross. Perkins gets up too, arching because it’s a little behind him but administering a really good, solid header – he must think he’s scored – I think he’s scored, I’m half-standing – but the keeper makes a brilliant reaction save.
Sonny Perkins comes agonisingly close to scoring on his debut. Photograph: Simon Dael/REX/Shutterstock

Updated at 7.34pm GMT

7.21pm GMT

David Moyes has sent Sonny Perkins, a 17-year-old striker, on for his debut. It’s probably better than strawpedoing Hooch on a sticky dancefloor, which is what I was doing at that age.

7.20pm GMT

Back in Rhine-Ruhr, Hart has made a couple more saves, but Johnston just frittered a counter. Any result is still possible and none would be surprising.

7.19pm GMT

I’ve not said much about Rapid-West Ham because there’s not much to say. West Ham are in control, and they’re going to win the group tonight.

7.17pm GMT

GOAL! Mura 1-1 Spurs (Kane 72)

‘How Spurs thirsted for that moment!” shrieks Peter Drury about a Conference League equaliser in Mura. It’s a lovely finish, stubbed over the keeper from an acute angle, but his team are still in trouble. Assuming Vitesse beat Mura in the final round of games, Spurs will need to beat Rennes.
Harry Kane scores the equaliser for Spurs. Photograph: Srdjan Zivulovic/Reuters

Updated at 7.19pm GMT

7.14pm GMT

Celtic take off Jota and Forrest, bringing on Abada and Johnston.

7.13pm GMT

GOAL! Galatasaray 3-0 Marseille (Feghouli 64)

Yup, this one is over. Gala are guaranteed a playoff spot, but if they can avoid a two-goal defeat in Rome, they’ll move straight into the last 16.

7.12pm GMT

Cameron Carter-Vickers has just been booked for an innocuous foul, and he’ll now be suspended for the Betis game.

7.11pm GMT

GOALS! Lokomotiv Moscow 0-2 Lazio (Immobile pen 56, Immobile pen 63)

It looks like Group E is set for a serious finish: Lazio will need to beat Galatasaray by two goals to pip them to top spot.

Updated at 7.14pm GMT

7.08pm GMT

Earlier, we were talking about own goals, so here’s a forgotten classic on this day in 1990.

7.06pm GMT

Something else that’s extremely impressive about West Ham: they’ve changed eight players and are still having their way with Rapid.

7.06pm GMT

Conte has sent on Son, Dier, Davies and Moura. It’s still 1-0 Mura, with 63 minutes gone.

7.05pm GMT

I forgot to say, in Mura, Dele Alli got involved in some shoving with the opposing keeper, but nothing came of it.

7.04pm GMT

GOAL! Crvena zvezda 1-0 Ludogorets (Ivanic 57)

If the scores stay as they are, Red Star will top the group tonight.

7.02pm GMT

If the scores stay as they are, Leverkusen will still top Group G with 10; Betis will have 10 too; and Celtic will have nine. So I’m not certain what a win changes for the Hoops – they’ll still need to win their last game and it’ll still only get them second – probably – but the away end definitely do’t see it like that.

7.00pm GMT

WHAT A GOAL! Leverkusen 1-2 Celtic (Jota 56)

Hart hurls out to Forrest, he finds Bitton, who moves onto Kyogo when Tapsoba slips, sp Kyogo moves on one more to Jota, and he absolutely panels a left-footed drive low into the far corner! Leverkusen will wonder what on earth is going on, but they’re trailing!
Jota celebrates with David Turnbull after firing Celtic ahead. Photograph: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

Updated at 7.08pm GMT

6.58pm GMT

GOAL! Midtjylland 2-1 Braga (Isaksen 48)

It’s getting very tight in Group F.

6.57pm GMT

WHAT A SAVE JOE HART! Diaby charges into the box down the left and Hart saves his shot from a narrowish angle. But the ball breaks free to Adli, whose first touch is heavy, but even so he should walk it in. Hart, though, refuses to give it up, diving into his feet on the line to shove away! That is brilliant!

6.55pm GMT

GOAL! Real Betis 2-0 Ferencvaros (Canales 52)

Ah, I’m glad Canales is getting it done. His career stalled at Madrid, but he’s doing nicely now.

6.54pm GMT

Tell you what, though: imagine having to go into his dressing room having shamed him in the way Spurs are currently doing. Verily, the mind it doth boggle.

6.53pm GMT

When I was discussing with my editor which games I was going to watch, I jokingly said I’d stick Spurs on my phone in case there was any cheap sport to be made, and here we are. Antonio Conte must be tearing his hair out.

6.51pm GMT

“The Rennes-Vitesse match deserves a mention,” emails Kári Tulinius. “Gaëtan Laborde has already scored a brace for Stade Rennais, but Daan Huisman pulled one back for the team from Arnhem. It sounds like an exciting game, and the result has all kinds of repercussions for Spurs, who are three behind the French club and one ahead of the Dutch.”

I had to watch the Vitesse-Spurs game for work, and I’m not sure I’ve ever resented a job more – and I’ve been a trainee solicitor. But yes, Spurs are in trouble if they lose here, because Spurs have to play Rennes last, while Vitesse are home to Mura.

6.48pm GMT

Off we go again...

6.43pm GMT

As Group G stands, Celtic are third, behind Leverkusen – who they won’t be able to catch unless they win tonight – and Betis, who’ll be three in front. If that happens, Celtic will need to beat them by two goals, or score more than four if it’s a one-goal win, to get second place.

6.37pm GMT

Half-time scores

Group E

Lokomotiv Moscow 0-0 Lazio

Galatasaray 2-0 Marseille


Group F

Crvena zvezda 0-0 Ludogorets

Midtjylland 1-1 Braga


Group G

Real Betis 1-0 Ferencvaros

Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 Celtic


Group H

Dinamo Zagreb 1-1 Genk

Rapid Wien 0-2 West Ham


Conference League Group G

Mura 1-0 Spurs

Updated at 6.38pm GMT

6.33pm GMT

GOAL! Rapid Wien 0-2 West Ham (Noble pen 45+2)

West Ham are going into the last 16! Noble opens his body and plants a tremendous penalty into the right side-netting, above the keeper’s dive.
Mark Noble scores from the spot in the empty Allianz Stadion. Photograph: Lisi Niesner/Reuters

Updated at 7.39pm GMT

6.32pm GMT


Hoffman shoves Yarmolenko for no reason, and here comes Mark Noble, flat cap and all.

6.32pm GMT

Oh my days! Juranovic, still wafting under the duvet, gives the ball away and Diaby drives into the box, unleashing a terrifying shot that crashes off the near angle, then someone else – I’m not sure who – wallops the rebound against the post! Somehow, Celtic survive.

6.30pm GMT

Thanks to David Warren, who lets me know that the tables I’ve been looking at all day have turned into live ones. That should be illegal.

6.27pm GMT

GOAL! Bayer Leverkusen 1-1 Celtic (Juranovic pen 40)

Oh my days this is a close thing, Juranovic chipping his pen, getting under it so it floats, and seeing it go in off the underside of the bar.

6.26pm GMT

GOAL! Rapid Wien 0-1 West Ham (Yarmolenko 39)

A far post header and that’s Yarmolenko’s first of the season! West Ham go back top of the group!
Andriy Yarmolenko rises to head home the opening goal in Vienna. Photograph: Simon Dael/REX/Shutterstock

Updated at 6.33pm GMT

6.26pm GMT


And a car for Radetsky. Kyogo’s got some stones, putting his head in there.
Leverkusen’s goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky clatters into Kyogo Furuhashi. Photograph: Martin Meissner/AP

Updated at 6.35pm GMT

6.25pm GMT

Are Celtic getting a penalty?

They’ve improved in the last 10 and Radetsky comes for a cross, gets naewhere near the ball but absolutely annihilates Kyogo, and that’s surely going to be a penalty!

Updated at 6.28pm GMT

6.24pm GMT

GOAL! Galatasaray 2-0 Marseille (Caleta-Car og 30)

This one looks done.

6.23pm GMT

GOAL! Dinamo Zagreb 1-0 Genk (Menalo 35)

Dinamo will take second if both they and West Ham win.

Updated at 6.29pm GMT

6.22pm GMT

“I see the Rapid Wien - West Ham United match as the Falco v. The Clash derby,” emails Peter Oh. “Vienna Calling! London Calling!”

My favourite Vienna song:

6.20pm GMT

Back in Leverkusen, Palacios careers into Turnbull and is booked. That was a yellow and a half, these days.

6.19pm GMT

Ryan Sessegnon gets his second yellow card and is sent off for Spurs!

I’d like to enjoy this, I really would, but I feel for Sessegnon – feted as a star, he’s struggled to realise his purported potential. I didn’t see the first yellow, but the second was what, nowadays, is considered a wild tackle. He didn’t get the ball, did get the legs, and though I didn’t think it was a red, I’ve seenumgivun.
Ryan Sessegnon sees red in Slovenia. Photograph: Tottenham Hotspur FC/Getty Images

Updated at 6.25pm GMT

6.17pm GMT

Diaby screeches into the Celtic half on the counter, but down the right of the box, he should shoot, but opts to cut back and the pass is cut out.

6.16pm GMT

Celtic are struggling to get anything going, but they’re only one down and have the firepower to cause plenty of aggro, if they can only get their attackers on the ball. And they’re progressing down the right as we speak, but when the cross comes over, Kossounou gets to it ahead of Kyogo. The eventuating corner comes to nowt, but it’s a start.

6.13pm GMT

My whatsapp pings and it’s our London correspondent Jacob Steinberg, uniting two of our topics so far: he advises that Joe Cole said West Ham would need to deal with the fans.

6.11pm GMT

Gosh, one of the Rapid defenders has just made a terrifying defensive header to stop Bowen’s corner reaching Dawson – the sort you might neglect to play in Sunday league, knowing you’ll stick it past your own keeper. It costs a further one, which Rapid clear, but they’re right under the pump here.

6.08pm GMT

Talking of West Ham, what I’m finding so amazing about watching them at the moment isn’t even the results, it’s the manner of them. They play like a team that expects to win, but doesn’t think it’ll be handed to them. That combination of belief and being nails is rare.

6.06pm GMT

I think I wrote about something being classic West Ham earlier this week, but here’s some more, courtesy of Daniel Barnett: “ Can I treat you like a Radio 2 DJ and ask for a shout-out for my dad, Ralph Barnett, long-suffering West Ham supporter, aged 77? After years of pain and false hope, we were both delighted at our team finally getting into Europe, and given that my dad’s last European night with the Hammers was the 1965 Cup Winners’ Final at Wembley, we decided not to wait for the next opportunity and to travel to a European away game. We booked flights from here in Israel where we both now live, sorted accommodation, and even secured match tickets. And then – lockdown, three days before the big night. We are forever blowing bubbles. Do any other readers have even more painful stories of missing out on a long awaited match experience, or waiting more than 56 years between games in the same competition? Yeyashar kochacha.

Oh man, achi , that is painful even to read. I hope you go to the playoff or last-16 game.

6.03pm GMT

GOAL! Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 Celtic (Andrich 16)

It’s been coming in general and they were warned specifically. Andrich hurtles onto a corner whole Welsh is static, so the defender doesn’t have a chance, and the eventuating header wallops down and in.
Robert Andrich leaps to head in the opening goal. Photograph: Martin Meissner/AP

Updated at 6.12pm GMT

6.01pm GMT

GOAL! Galatasaray 1-0 Marseille (Cicaldau 12)

Marseille go out if they lose tonight, while Gala would need to lose to Lazio, by more than one goal or not 1-0, to avoid finishing top if they can hang on.

5.59pm GMT

GOAL! Mura 1-0 Spurs (Horvat 11)

This is a fine goal, Horvat dancing inside Sanchez, who slips like Charlie Chaplin, then unfurls a curler that swishes into the side-netting just inside the far post!

5.57pm GMT

In Germany, Andrich has just thunked a header over the top from a corner. That was a decent opportunity.

5.55pm GMT

GOAL! Real Betis 1-0 Ferencvaros (Tello 5)

This is not what Celtic wanted, but Ferencvaros are bottom of Group G with nil pwa. If Celtic win both their games, they should make the playoffs at least.

5.53pm GMT

It’s been a quiet start in Vienna, but West Ham are in the ascendancy and almost take the lead as I type! Masuaku goes down the left, crosses low and hard – it’s a superb delivery - and on the slide, Bowen pokes just wide. That was very good from both – though I’m sure Bowen is disappointed to have missed, his run was terrific, a product of his bouncing determination.
Jarrod Bowen goes close for the Hammers. Photograph: Simon Dael/REX/Shutterstock

Updated at 6.05pm GMT

5.50pm GMT

GOAL! Midtjylland 1-0 Braga (Sviatchenko 2)

That’s a huge goal. Braga currently lead the group with 9 points, while Midtjylland have eight and so do Red Star – who are playing the already-eliminated Ludogorets.

5.49pm GMT

And there’s the first flash of Frimpong, who bursts down the right but runs out of road.

5.48pm GMT

When Leverkusen visited Parkhead, they administered a 4-0 hiding and looked a class apart – though it’s fair to say that before they scored their second, Celtic might well have equalised.

5.47pm GMT

I’ve bitten the bullet and stuck Mura-Spurs on my phone, so will update you on any goals that ensue. As it goes, I’d not mind casting eyes over Bryan Gil, of whom I like the look; he starts tonight.

5.46pm GMT

Off we go!

5.45pm GMT

There are, I’m afraid, no fans in Rapid’s Allianz Stadion – Austria are back in lockdown. In Leverkusen, the Bay Arena is about two-thirds full.

5.43pm GMT

Here come the teams!

5.43pm GMT

Also playing early are Lokomotiv Moscow – they meet Lazio – who are poised to lose their head of sports and development to Manchester United.

Related: Manchester United in advanced talks to make Ralf Rangnick interim manager

5.39pm GMT

Back to Tapsoba, I’ve heard really good things about him. I guess Liverpool will have looked at him before concluding Konaté was the best of the young centre-backs, but based on the little I’ve seen and more I’ve heard, I’d not be surprised if he proved them wrong. Though ultimately, it’s not a direct competition, both might go on to be brilliant.

5.37pm GMT

On the other channel, I missed Joe Cole’s piece with Ben Johnson. But from the snatch I heard while listening to Postecoglu, he seemed a top bloke, and Cole confirmed that, saying you talk to anyone at the training ground, they’ll tell you he’s a great lad. I don’t know if it’s because I’m old, but seeing all these young lads having the times of their lives is such an affirming buzz.

5.34pm GMT

Postecoglu sounds very confident in his players and says they’ve done well to work themselves back into position after a poor start. He doesn’t expect Forrester to last the 90, but is glad to have him back and glad to have Abadi on the bench.

5.33pm GMT

BT are showing VT of Jeremie Frimpong, formerly of Celtic and now of Leverkusen . He’s looked great lately, and I’m really looking forward to seeing both him and Edmond Tapsoba in particular.

5.25pm GMT

Asked about Rice Rice Baby, Davey Moyes says he’s hearing more about his social media than his football, and prefers to focus on the latter. He’ll be playing Bowen up front to begin with, but knows he can swap him with Yarmolenko, and though he’s obviously disappointed to have lost Angelo Ogbonna, but has other good defenders to replace him with.

He hopes to win tonight so he can rest players in the next game, and also wants to win the group, but if he’d been offered European football in the new year – as Ryan Giggs would say – he’d’ve took it.

5.22pm GMT

BT have got Joe Cole in the studio, which I’m glad to see – he really is an excellent pundit. Tells you stuff you don’t know or haven’t noticed, doesn’t take it or himself too seriously, calls Rio Ferdinand “Ri”. What more can you ask?

Updated at 5.32pm GMT

5.17pm GMT

Good effort getting Postecoglou into a tune as well.

5.14pm GMT

Tell you what, I’m really enjoying what Ange Postecoglou is doing with Celtic. Kyogo and Jota both look serious players, but more than that, it looks like he’s enveloped the club in his personality, which means people – players and fans – are buying into his ideas.

Updated at 5.17pm GMT

5.06pm GMT

West Ham, meanwhile, make eight changes. Areola, Masuaku, Diop, Coufal, Noble, Lanzini, Vlasic and Yarmolenko come in; Fabianski, Johnson, Zouma, Cresswell, Rice, Benrahma, Fornals and Antonio drop out, but Rice, Fornals and Benrahma are on the bench.

5.03pm GMT

Celtic make one change from the weekend win over St Johnstone: James Forrest replaces Liel Abada. Leverkusen, meanwhile, leave out Tapsoba, Sinkgraven, Demirbay and Amiri – all bar Demirbay are on the bench. In come Hincapie, Kossounou, Palacios and Paulinho.

4.57pm GMT

Team news

I’m going to be watching Bayer Leverkusen v Celtic and Rapid Wien v West Ham, so here are the line-ups (I’m kind of thinking that should actually be lines-up – someone who knows about grammar feel free to upbraid me):

Bayer Leverkusen
: Hradecky, Frimpong, Kossounou, Tah, Hincapie, Palacios, Andrich, Diaby, Wirtz, Paulinho, Adli. Subs: Lomb, Lunev, Retsos, Amiri, Tapsoba, Sinkgraven, Gedikil.

Celtic: Hart, Ralston, Carter-Vickers, Welsh, Juranovic, McGregor, Bitton, Turnbull, Forrest, Furuhashi, Jota. Subs: Bain, Oluwayemi, Scales, Ajeti, Abada, Soro, McCarthy, Johnston, Urhoghide, Shaw, Murray, Montgomery.


Rapid Wien: Gartler, Stojkovic, Hofmann, Aiwu, Moormann, Petrovic, Ljubicic,Arase, Knasmullner, Fountas, Kitagawa. Subs: Hedl, Orgler, Ballo, Schick, Grahovac, Strunz, Auer, Grull, Kara, Ullmann, Dijakovic, Sulzbacher.

West Ham: Areola, Coufal, Dawson, Diop, Mauaku, Noble, Soucek, Lanzini, Bowen, Yarmolenko, Vlasic. Subs: Randolph, Cresswell, Zouma, Fornals, Benrahma, Fredericks, Johnson, Kral, Rice, Alese, Chesters, Perkins.

Updated at 5.01pm GMT

4.45pm GMT


Good morrow one and all and welcome to the real football factories another fascinating night of Europa League behaviour. I’m afraid, though, that our opening task must be to deal with some housekeeping, so please bear with me.

This season, there is no round of last 32. Rather, the eight group winners proceed to the round of last 16, while the eight runners-up meet one of the eight third-placed Champions League rejects in a two-legged playoff, the winners of each to move on. I don’t suppose it’s very fair, but then it wasn’t already, and this should give us greater DRAMA, NARRATIVE and MONEYMONEYMONEYMONEYMONEYMONEY, so here we are.


Group A

Lyon are currently the only side in the competition certain to top their section. In order to take second, Rangers – under new manager Giovani van Bronckhorst – must better Sparta Prague’s performance – they lost the first encounter between the teams 1-0 – and finish above Brondby, who, they currently lead by two points.

Tonight’s fixtures, 8pm (all times GMT): Brondby v Lyon, Rangers v Sparta Prague


Group B

Monaco, Sociedad and PSV, on 8, 6 and 5 points respectively, are all in contention for the top two spots. Sturm Graz are out.

Tonight’s fixtures: 8pm: PSV v Sturm Graz, Monaco v Real Sociedad


Group C

All four teams can still move on. Spartak beat Napoli last night and with both teams on 7 points, top the group on head to head.

Tonight’s fixture, 8pm: Leicester v Legia Warsaw


Group D

Frankfurt, on 10 points, are guaranteed a playoff spot and will win the group of they beat Antwerp, who are out. Olympiakos and Fenerbahce, on 6 and 5 respectively, are both still in contention.

Tonight’s fixtures, 8pm: Olympiakos v Fenerbahce, Eintracht Frankfurt v Antwerp


Group E

All four teams can still qualify. Galatasaray top the group on 8 points and can eliminate Marseille, on 4 points, by beating them. Lokomotiv, on 2 points, must beat Lazio, on 5 points, to retain the chance of making the playoffs.

Tonight’s fixtures, 5.45pm: Lokomotiv Moscow v Lazio, Galatasaray v Marseille


Group F

Braga, top on 9 points, can guarantee a playoff place by beating Midtjylland, on 5 points, and if Crvena zvezda, on 7 points, fail match their result, they’ll secure top spot. If both win, Midtjylland are out; Ludogorets are already out.

Tonight’s fixtures, 5.45pm: Crvena zvezda v Ludogorets, Midtjylland v Braga


Group G

Leverkusen, on 10 points, will secure top spot with a win over Celtic, on 6 points, and if Betis, on 7 points, win and and Celtic don’t, Celtic are out. Ferencvaros, on 0 points, are gone.

Tonight’s fixtures, 5.45pm: Real Betis v Ferencvaros, Bayer Leverkusen v Celtic


Group H

West Ham, on 10 points, are guaranteed a playoff spot, and one win from their final two games will see them finish top. Zagreb, on 6 points, Genk, on 4 points, and Rapid, on 3 points, all remain in contention.

Tonight’s fixture, 5.45pm: Rapid Wien v West Ham, Dinamo Zagreb v Genk


Oh yeah, and the Conference League is also happening. Spurs, on 7 points, are second in their group behind Rennes, on 10 points, and are away to Mura, on 0 points, at 5.45pm; behind them sit Vitesse, on 6 points.

I’m off for a lie-down.

Updated at 5.28pm GMT

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